Brimstone is a hack n' slash action RPG available for download on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games Channel (XBLIG) by a developer called Punchbag Entertainment. The game is very similar to Diablo with a top-down perspective and heavy emphasis on dungeon crawling.
Like Diablo, continuous looting is a major part of the game. There are tons of items and as multiple variations of each piece of equipment. To further add to the complexity, some items are "unidentified" which have hidden stats and you must use another item called a "Scroll of Knowing" to reveal them. Others are cursed and can only be removed with a "Scroll of Purity." It is always a good idea to identify every item before equipping it so that you do not accidentally equip a cursed item.
Graphically, Brimstone isn't much to write home about but it suffices. There is a lot of graphical variety in the game. You will see tons of different types of enemies which get tougher as you go deeper and deeper into the dungeon. Character design is also now customizable with the latest free downloadable expansion, Heroes' Might.
Much like any roleplaying game, your character earns experience and levels up as he defeats enemies. You gain some points to distribute amongst your stats with each level and as you get stronger and stronger, you will also be able to equip better and better items. This part of the game is what makes Brimstone become so addictive for an RPG fan. Your character really never stops growing and that gives the game a lot of reply value.
Speaking on the subject of replayability, the dungeon seems to be randomly generated each time you play the game which will give you a slightly different experience each time you go through it. The game can also range from being relaxingly easy to punishingly difficult (depending on your level). It gets especially hard when facing rooms full of ranged enemies but luckily the newly added ranged attack in the Heroes' Might expansion helps a bit in this regard. There are four difficulty settings which can further add to the challenge and extend your play time even after beating the game.
Combat is pretty simple with a button to attack, to cast magic, to heal, and for ranged attacks. It almost gets to be too simple though and I wish there was some way to defend against attacks. Your health can drain really quickly if you get surrounded so make sure you always have a hefty stockpile of healing scrolls in your inventory and don't be shy about using them!
Brimstone does support multiplayer cooperative play both on Xbox LIVE and through System Link but there rarely seems to be other players online so it is pretty hard to find a match. This is a real shame because this game is most fun when played with others. Online co-op can still come in handy if you have a friend that also bought the game and you want to coordinate a game together, though.
In conclusion, Brimstone is an awesome game and easily ranks as one of the best Indie Game titles currently available. It's not perfect but the fact that it only costs 80 Microsoft Points is a huge plus. That's only a dollar! Considering it is possible to get dozens of hours out of enjoyment out of Brimstone, it will likely be the best dollar you've ever spent on a video game.
Final Score: 5 / 5
(This review was based off a review copy of the game).